A great many Australians grew up eating meat, wearing fur and leather, and going to circuses and zoos for entertainment.
But times change, and many people now want to know exactly what they are eating and drinking (or wearing). And what to avoid.
Before we became more aware of own bodies, and animal welfare, it probably wouldn't have occurred to us that wines could not be vegan friendly. Wine is just alcoholic grape juice, after all.
|Yalumba winemaker Louisa Rose|
But the fact is that winemakers may include animal ingredients in their products directly, or they might use them in the fining and filtration processes.
When filtering drinks prior to bottling, companies can use products like isinglass (from a fish bladder), casein from milk protein, gelatin, egg whites, and sea shells, among other items. These products are used to find any impurities and filter them out.
Put simply, fining removes the “rough edges” derived from grape skins and seeds during the wine-making process.
But there are many animal-free alternatives in use and several wineries, cider makers and others are now branding their products “vegan friendly” so that vegans can be sure they are not absorbing anything inadvertently.
Look out for Vegan Friendly stickers or statements on the labels of some of Australia's leading wine producers like Yalumba, Cullen and Heartland.
“We've been making vegan-friendly wines for a long time,” says Vanya Cullen, chief winemaker at Cullen Wines in Margaret River, Western Australia. “Our vegan wines come from being biodynamic, and certified biodynamic, and then going to a place of even greater purity, but adding nothing.
|Vanya Cullen of Cullen Wines|
“Nothing added, or taken away, just grapes going to wine – and a better wine. It's a bit like natural wine. I believe our wines are natural as well as vegan because of this purity in wine growing.
“Quality sustainably with integrity is our philosophy and being vegan and natural are outcomes not intended but nevertheless outcomes of this philosophy – and that's great, isn't it?”
Such is the growing demand for vegan-friendly products that some of the great names of Champagne have made it known that their luxury bubbles are made without the use of any animal products.
|Winemaker Ben Glaetzer|